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Tribute to Pat Burke, landlady of the Prince Albert pub in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8TT
Poetry pictures

Pat Burke RIP: comments from the urban75 bulletin board, May 2002
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 01-05-2002 11:36 AM:
Pat, our much loved landlady, died today at 8.30am

I am so sorry to be posting this. Mick at the Albert, Pats relief manager rang me with the sad news that Pat died this morning after a short illness. She went into hospital last week, with a suspected stroke. Her son, Chris, was with her. I will add to this thread as and when I know details regarding her funeral and so on.
Posted by Rollem on 01-05-2002 11:38 AM:

Thats such sad news. My thoughts go out to her family and friends, she will certainly be missed by many.
Posted by drfranni on 01-05-2002 11:43 AM:

Oh dear. That is very sad news, for her family and her many friends
Posted by adi baby on 01-05-2002 11:47 AM:

God bless her - she was an act that i dont believe can be followed.
Posted by sunshine on 01-05-2002 11:48 AM:

Sorry to hear! This is indeed sad news. S
Posted by editor on 01-05-2002 11:50 AM:

Terrible news. She was much loved and respected by the local community and her loss will be felt by many. My sympathy goes out to her family. I'll miss her personally very much indeed: she was one of the first people I got to know in Brixton and proved a loyal and generous friend.
Posted by grubby local on 01-05-2002 11:50 AM:

that's terrible news. sympathies to all who knew her. gx
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 01-05-2002 11:54 AM:

I have so many happy memories of her, and so do all of my kids, and Mr M too of course. Even my lodger, in the short time he knew her (and despite the fact she did once ask me if he was bothering me cos she thought he was a ne'er do well!) grew fond of her. I shall miss her very much indeed.
Posted by Scott on 01-05-2002 11:57 AM:

That's terrible news. I really don't know what to say. I only knew her a matter of months but I believe she made the Albert the place is was. I'm so sorry.


Posted by hatboy on 01-05-2002 12:21 PM:

I'm really upset to hear this. She has always been there in the time that I have lived here and always been a rock solid person. She had integrity, was firm but fair but had a warm heart when she'd let you see it. This is such a shock. As said above a hard act to follow. Kind wishes to her family. Thanks Pat for keeping me in line all those years.
Posted by tarannau on 01-05-2002 12:39 PM:

Very sad news. It's not going to be the same without her around. Best wishes to all her friends and family. She made The Albert very special.
Posted by Aitch on 01-05-2002 01:08 PM:

She'll be missed, sad news thoughts to other friends and family
Posted by fanta on 01-05-2002 01:12 PM:

This bad news is a shock. It has ruined Mayday!
Posted by isvicthere? on 01-05-2002 01:12 PM:

Terrible news. She was a real - THE real - Brixton character. The place quite simply won't be the same without her.
Posted by wildwildlifer on 01-05-2002 01:38 PM:

shocking news. a wonderful wonderful landlady and a great loss. Deepest respects.
Posted by Red Jezza on 01-05-2002 01:49 PM:

I am crying as I type this. Pat - at first I found her dour. The more times I went down to that pub, the more I found she was a terrific person (and, needless to say) a great landlady.
Posted by Mr Retro on 01-05-2002 01:52 PM:

I'm very sorry to hear this. I only started to go in to the Albert after hearing about it on this site but Pat recognised me from my second visit. She had a beautiful impish smile. God bless her and her family. Mrs Magpie your posts here showed your deep affection for her and I'm sorry you lost a good friend.
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 01-05-2002 02:25 PM:

Yes, Pat was brilliant. She could be very inscrutable, especially till she'd got the measure of you. She once told me, when a onetime Brixton resident popped up on a daytime soap, that all her customers were actors, in one way or extremely shrewd judge of character, with a very wry sense of humour. She guarded that pubs reputation and what went on inside its walls with all the protective fierceness of a mother tigress. I loved popping in at around 2pm and just chatting over a St Clements or a pint. I'll miss her quiet humour, her genuine affection for all our kids and her joy in seeing them reach their various milestones. I'll always have happy memories of her like when she came out and clapped and cheered with her customers when Brixton Cycles went on their last bike convoy down CHL when they moved premises. She was a very private person in a lot of ways, which made friendship with her very special.
Posted by han on 01-05-2002 03:52 PM:

god, what sad news... she was obviously a pillar of the community who lots of people loved! I'm sorry to hear this.


Posted by agricola on 01-05-2002 03:55 PM:

condolences to all
Posted by Dubversion on 01-05-2002 04:56 PM:

not really anything i can add to what everyone else has already said.. she was a brilliant and definitely unique person, and someone who repayed many times over the time spent getting to know her... it feels like the end of something in a broader sense as well, perhaps I'm being sentimental but Pat always felt like the last bastion against the Fulham-isation of Brixton... a terrible terrible shame, and my thoughts are with her family.
Posted by ats on 01-05-2002 05:29 PM:

I'm so sorry to hear this news. I didn't know Pat well, but I know how much she meant to many of you.
Posted by Bond on 01-05-2002 06:42 PM:

Very sad to find this out as I had only spoken to her a few weeks ago. Have spoken to her only a few times but she was the friendliest Landlady I've had the pleasure of meeting. Won't be quite the same in the Albert without her. My condolences also go out to her family.


Posted by Mikee on 01-05-2002 07:06 PM:

She'll be well missed. Waas a bit of a superstar, our Pat All the best for the next world......
Posted by editor on 01-05-2002 07:40 PM:

I met a couple of peeps on the protest today who said they were planning on going to the Albert tonight to toast a few last drinks to the wonderful Pat. Anyone fancy going?
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 01-05-2002 08:38 PM:

I'm afraid the Albert is closed today...perhaps a toast of Stella from a can bought from the offie next door?
Posted by NVP on 01-05-2002 09:52 PM:

Really sad news. Tha Albert won't ever be the same. My thoughts are with her family. RIP Pat.
Posted by dozzer on 01-05-2002 10:07 PM:

I am so sorry....
Posted by john x on 02-05-2002 12:39 AM:

Do we know when the funeral is and if it's open to all?
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 02-05-2002 11:02 AM:

As soon as I have any details I will post them here. It is possible that she may be buried in Ireland (She was originally from Leinster) or that it is a private family funeral, but whatever the arrangements are, we will definitely get together and mark her passing in a positive way.
Posted by Mr Retro on 02-05-2002 11:09 AM:

I'd be surprised if she didn't go 'home' to be buried. What part of Leinster Mrs Magpie?
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 02-05-2002 11:47 AM:

Not sure, all she ever told me was Leinster. She did get really pleased a few weeks ago when a young couple, on holiday in London, chanced upon the Albert and were from her home town but it was heaving in there that night and I didn't catch where in Leinster....Pat was softly spoken unless she was chucking someone out and on a busy night it was a strain hearing ears aren't what they used to be......
Posted by William of Walworth on 02-05-2002 04:47 PM:

What can I add? Nothing really


Posted by editor on 02-05-2002 05:22 PM:

Please see the other thread for the confirmed funeral arrangements. The Prince Albert will be opening again on friday with a temporary manager. Sad to say, we can expect a vastly changed Albert to emerge in Pat's absence in the next few months, with talk of ghastly Karoke and pool competitions, uniformed staff and corprate branding a go-go. The pub will be closing in June for a redesign and I fully expect it to lose much of the unique character and warmth that Pat helped create in the process. Apparently, Pat had been staunchly fighting endless attempts by the brewery to turn the Albert into a faceless chain pub, and it's a real, real shame that it looks like we'll soon be losing one of the finest boozers in London to bland commercialism. But for the time being, let's celebrate Pat's life and remember her for her generosity, her loyalty and her ruddy marvellous pub!
Posted by William of Walworth on 02-05-2002 05:31 PM:
Respect to Pat, deplore new plans ...

Mike is there nothing you, Urban 75 people, Albert regulars, etc. can do to publicise these developments and in protesting against them, show due respect to Pat??

I imagine it's a battle lost from the start though ... I can't believe a pub as popular as that can be made any more profitable in terms of volume of custom ... when you consider the regular cyustom LOST by such changes

Capitalists don't understand capitalism ...

This isn't particularly a beer-relevant issue (although you can bet your pint glass the new "bar" will not have any real ale at all but CAMRA (contactable through their website) can issue very detailed and well argued information (in printed form I think, doesn't seem to be on their website yet) on how to oppose planning changes relating to pubs ... but as I recall it mainly relates to changes of use from pubs to housing/offices etc. Still, could be useful though. I have a copy of a booklet ...
Posted by Andy the Don on 02-05-2002 07:35 PM:

A sad day for the area. Pat would always remember your face even if you had hardly gone there. I used to have a pint there, at lunchtime, a couple of times a week. Used to sit in the garden & eat my sandwich in the summer & Pat would not mind bring in the sarnie from the Pheonix cafe over the road. Amazed at how she kept a pint under £2 until recently. Hope the Albert will not change too much, but fearing the worse.
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 03-05-2002 01:22 AM:
I only started to go in to the Albert after hearing about it on this site ----------
It was Pat that told me about Urban75 during one of our lunchtime chinwags!
Posted by john x on 03-05-2002 02:43 AM:

Let's not get too defeatist about this! The Albert is a very profitable pub with a large, loyal clientel. We DO have some power and influence. There are enough shit pub/'club'/trendy winebars in our area already. There is a market for a decent pub with a great atmosphere. It's just a matter of letting the powers that be realise it! If we want The Albert to stay as it is then let's get off our arses and do something about it. A fitting tribute to Pat if nothing else.
Posted by Anna Key on 03-05-2002 03:12 AM:

I agree. There's also a large residential and day-time business community in the immediate area who are very unhappy with what's happening in CH Lane.
Posted by septic tank on 03-05-2002 09:17 PM:
Night of the living pubchains

Quite right. So which chain is it, then, and which numnuts upstairs do we all have to call and give hell before they turn the joint into the Dogsbody II? On the publicity front, it'd make a great feature for Time Out or one of the Sunday papers. "Loyal local crowd mourns landlady, fights to save a bygone corner of Coldharbour Lane...' Anybody know any features editors?


Posted by Mrs Magpie on 04-05-2002 01:00 AM:

I have all the details of the chain, but I don't want to post them here until after Wednesday. Until then, in my opinion, is a time for mourning Pat's passing. I think any representations with a chance of success have to be unaggressive. Also anything we do should be OK with Pat's family.
Posted by Ms Bear on 05-05-2002 11:00 AM:

Firm but fair,our Pat. Brixton won't be the same without her. Cheers for the good times tho.
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 05-05-2002 11:06 AM:

It is good that we all have so many happy memories of good times in Pats pub.
Posted by Murdoch on 07-05-2002 04:25 PM:

I've never been to Brixton let alone in the Albert but from what I have read here it seems that Pat touched many people's lives. My condolences to all who knew her. The memorial idea seems a fitting tribute.
Posted by NVP on 07-05-2002 05:28 PM:

All the flowers outside The Albert are a very moving site at the moment. I put a few down myself today, and was genuinely moved by all the brilliant things folk had to say about Pat. The one that summed it up for me the best was the one that said something like: "A part of the true heart of Brixton has gone with you". Fairly choked, I was. RIP Pat.
Posted by wildwildlifer on 07-05-2002 08:45 PM:

South london Pest has a nice piece and photo of Pat in today's issue


Posted by editor on 07-05-2002 08:57 PM:

What does the article in the South London Press say? Here's another photo of the pub taken today. It is indeed a sad sight...
Posted by wildwildlifer on 07-05-2002 09:14 PM:
Tragic Death Of Pub Boss

The popular landlady of a Brixton pub has died. Pat Burke who spent 20 years behind the the bar at the Prince Albert in Coldharbour Lane, died of pneumonia last Wednesday after suffering from a suspected strokeon Friday, April 26th. Pat was a nominee for the South London Press Pub Guv competition last year. She took over the Prince Albert with her late husband after quitting a job in the city. Pat had come to England from Ireland in the 1950's. Her son, Chris Coyne, said:"She was into the local arts scene and was friends with a lot of the gay community. She was an old-school Irish lady - known for being tough but fair." The funeral will be held at Corpus Christi Church in Trent Rd Brixton, tomorrow, at 10.30am. All are welcome (with a good picture of Pat pulling a pint) sorry scanner not working supply your own to accompany this, Mike lead story page 12
Posted by guinnessdrinker on 07-05-2002 09:45 PM:

I may not have been a regular of the Albert, over the sixteen years I have lived in South London, but I have always looked forward to visiting the pub whenever I came to Brixton, if only for a soft drink in daytime. The exception was las Saturday, as I was not sure I wanted to abandon the march. I had not yet heard of her passing, maybe it was a dreaded guess. Whatever happens, fight against the brewery. That pub does not need karaoke, etc to make good money, it has inspired regular customers which it will lose for the sake of a quick return and long term loss. It does not have the capacity to be turn into another superpub, so it may yet turn into offices/flats. That Camra leaflet may yet come in handy. I am with you all for this fight.
Posted by Blagsta on 07-05-2002 10:45 PM:

I was never a regular in The Albert, and indeed have never been much of a regular visitor to Brixton, but I always used to enjoy a pint in there whenever I was in that neck of the woods. And while I never knew Pat personally, its obvious how much she was loved and respected in Brixton and what a good pub she ran. Thoughts go out to everyone who knew and loved her.
Posted by septic tank on 07-05-2002 11:20 PM:

Our Pat never did call last orders. Come half-eleven, she came barrelling down that bar lengthwise, howling harridan voice refined over many years nurturing wayward adults: "Come on you people, move along now. This isnít a discotheque." Sparing a kindly eye and a forgiving nod for the regulars, of course. Youíre alright. Nurse your drinks awhile longer. Iíll be an hour getting this lot out of here. Her generosity of spirit was more than a match for the stern demeanour she employed in keeping us rabble in line. A word or two with her was richer payment for our days labours than all the pints she ever did pour. You'll be sorely missed, Pat. I only wish I could say to you once more, as I always did trundling out the door at closing time: Goodnight, Pat, and thank you.


Posted by editor on 07-05-2002 11:44 PM:

A reminder of what made Pat so special: The day the 'Paddick posts on anarchy website' story hit the headlines, I met up with partners-in-crime Hatboy and Grubby Local in the Albert to discuss tactics for the campaign. Pat had seen my TV interviews earlier in the day and was fully supportive of our attempts to get Paddick reinstated - so much so that a few minutes later she brought over a bottle of champagne for us all! I'm going to miss her. She was a true Brixtonian.
Posted by Mrs Magpie on 08-05-2002 12:01 AM:

Yes, she did the same for me and Mr M last year on our wedding anniversary.
Posted by detective-boy on 09-05-2002 01:22 AM:

I'm so sorry. Haven't been about for over a week and just logged on today. Pat's family, Mrs M and all the other Albert regulars, please accept my condolences. I've not got round to popping back to Brixton to meet you yet - The Albert was going to be my target and meeting the much-described Pat was going to be one of the highlights. Sadly that is not to be. Good luck in keeping the pub the way it is.
Posted by editor on 09-05-2002 01:40 AM:

I've just been told that Pat's relations in Australia only found out about her death via this web site, so I'll be forwarding them the photos I took of the outside of the pub with all the flowers and letters of condolence.
Posted by pk on 09-05-2002 12:57 PM:

Gutted - she was lovely.... best barlady in the world. R.I.P. Pat.
Posted by EatMoreChips on 10-05-2002 11:29 AM:

This is so sad... and must have happened the same morning I left London. Without meaning to sound ghoulish, what happened? RIP
Posted by wildwildlifer on 10-05-2002 05:44 PM:
Re: Tragic Death Of Pub Boss

much missed


Note from editor:
I've ended this page with a picture from the funeral.

In a fitting tribute, the church was packed with hundreds of people who wanted to pay their respects to Brixton's finest landlady.

Many a drink was raised to her in the Albert afterwards.

R.I.P. Pat. You'll be missed.

Pat's funeral


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